Perpetual history-makers Christian Brothers College are looking to add another chapter to their sporting story as they eye up Munster glory in both rugby and hurling in the coming weeks.
Last St Patrick’s Day, the Cork school defeated arch-rivals Presentation Brothers College to go top of the all-time Senior Schools Cup roll of honour, a nail-biting 5-3 win giving them a remarkable 30th title.
While the bid for title number 31 is going strong, the school is also looking to secure a maiden Dr Harty Cup success in hurling. The clash with St Flannan’s was a casualty of Storm Dennis earlier this month and will now take place this Saturday (Mallow, 1pm).
Before that, there is the matter of Tuesday’s Clayton Hotels Munster Senior Cup semi-final against Rockwell College (Musgrave Park, 2.30pm).
While fighting on two fronts, it is exciting times for all involved with CBC as they eye an elusive double.
“It’s definitely special times in the school,” Deputy Principal Donal O’Mahony said. “I think it’s only when fellas leave the school later on they look back on these days as a great time to be part of the school, with the culture in the school at the moment.”
The culture mentioned is one where everyone is encouraged to reach their fullest potential – both on the pitch and in the classroom. With the sporting success that the school has seen, O’Mahony is keen to emphasise the pride CBC takes in the academic achievements of the students.
“We had one of the top students in the country last year in the Leaving Cert. Eight (students nationwide) got eight A1s, we had one of them. Two of them got the top results in Applied Maths in the country (and) one got the top result in maths,” he said, adding that two of those students were on the Harty Cup team.
“It shows that both can be done. We have proven that good characters can do both.”
This character is one of the defining features of any CBC team in recent years.
Holding on for a two-point win over Pres in last year’s Senior Cup final and one-point wins in the Harty Cup quarter- and semi-final this year show that bit of steel that even the teams at the highest level can struggle to find.
“(Character) is the most important thing for us and it's the culture we are trying to develop here, how we carry ourselves on and off the field, how we carry ourselves when we win and when we lose, we put an awful lot of time and effort into that,” he said.
A big part of this is the work done by coach Tommy Crowe who leads CBC into today’s semi-final.
“The real strength in what Tommy does is he treats everybody the exact same, whether you are number 45 in the squad or if you are number one in the squad, you are all treated the same.
“He is a fantastic man-manager and the players see that and they respect it, and as a consequence, he gets the buy-in he needs from the players when the tough days come such as Cup finals and semi-finals.”
Meanwhile, the curtain-raiser to CBC’s clash with Rockwell sees the Tipperary school take on Crescent College Comprehensive in the Junior Cup quarter-final (12.30pm). The second Senior Cup semi-final sees Presentation Brothers College meet St Munchin’s on Wednesday (Musgrave Park, 2pm).